Trolls are everywhere on the internet. You’d think that a national radio station known for it’s news talk and jazz programming would be free from the internet trolls. If you believe that any website is safe, you need your head checked.
At NPR they are getting tired of getting spammed and having users comment with the sole purpose of just being a nuisance. According the the Inside NPR blog “…we’ve recently observed a significant increase in the amount of spam in the comments as well as comments from some individuals who participate simply to anger or insult other community members.”
Have a community of trolls pretty much comes with the territory of having a large commenting community with a lot of hot button issues, like any politically charged current events. Currently NPR is boasting 450,000 members on their website. And they have starting doing something that the Gawker sites and more well established websites sites should do. That is screening comments by new users before they appear to the general public. So in a sense you have to try out to be commenter. Which should lead to better comments.
This approach is by now means a sure fire way to keep trolls away from your site, especially a site with stories that people get very polarized about on your main page. It is nice to see someone taking a public stand against trolling on a site that benefits from have civil commenting about real world hot button issues.
Ars Technica: http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/03/public-radio-decides-its-time-to-chase-trolls-away.ars